Water damage in homes and businesses is unfortunately a common occurrence in Lawrenceville and the surrounding areas. As a bustling suburb of Atlanta with a wet, humid climate, we see all kinds of water damage issues – from minor leaks to major flooding. In this article, we’ll provide an overview of common causes of water damage, the effects it can have if left untreated, and the water damage restoration process.
Common Causes of Water Damage
There are several common sources of water intrusion that can lead to damage in Lawrenceville homes and commercial properties:
Plumbing leaks and pipe bursts – With age, materials like galvanized steel and copper pipes become prone to cracks and splits, allowing water to leak into walls, floors, and other places it doesn’t belong. Pipe bursts can rapidly flood a building when a pipe totally fails.
Appliance and fixture malfunctions – Dishwashers, washing machines, toilets, and water heaters can all experience issues leading to water leakage. Malfunctioning valves, cracked water lines, and loose fittings are common culprits.
Severe weather – Lawrenceville’s severe thunderstorms bring heavy rain, flash flooding, and winds that can drive water into the building envelope. Low spots in yards collect water that can enter basements. Storm-damaged roofs and siding also allow water intrusion.
Groundwater intrusion – High groundwater levels, especially after heavy rains, can lead to flooding in basements, crawl spaces, and slabs. Saturated soil presses against foundation walls and floors.
Plumbing backups – Blockages in sewer lines, both on the property and in municipal sewers, can cause raw sewage to back up into homes and businesses through drain pipes. Overwhelmed city sewers sometimes back up during heavy rains.
Effects of Water Damage
If excess moisture is allowed to remain inside a building, it creates conditions conducive to a wide range of problems:
Wood decay and structural damage – Wet wood in framing, subfloors, trim, and furniture eventually rots, compromises structural integrity, and needs replacement.
Mold growth – Mold spores thrive on damp materials. Prolonged moisture allows colonies to grow, which creates health risks and blackened surfaces.
Bacteria propagation – Raw sewage from backups introduces dangerous bacteria like E.coli into the home. Bacteria spread disease through contact and airborne dust.
Wall and ceiling deterioration – Drywall swells and delaminates when soaked. Tile, grout, and plaster detach from their substrates. Paint blisters and peels away.
Odors – Stagnant water and mold create musty, unpleasant odors. Sewage backup causes gross fecal stenches.
Indoor air quality issues – Excess moisture allows mold, bacteria, and other contaminants into the air. This aggravates allergies and illnesses.
Damaged contents – Furniture, carpeting, electronics, and other belongings absorb water and grow mold without quick drying.
Clearly, water damage creates unhealthy living conditions and requires restoration to make the home or business inhabitable again. The longer it persists, the more extensive repairs become.
Water Damage Assessment and Categorization
When a property owner discovers water damage or intrusion, the first step is calling a water damage restoration company for a professional assessment. A trained technician inspects the site and uses moisture meters to map the extent of water incursion. The goal is to identify entry points, diagnose the source, and categorize the severity.
Water damage is classified into one of three main classes dictated by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC):
Class 1 – Slow evaporation rate. Minor absorbed moisture and swelling in porous materials like drywall and carpet. No wicking into walls or wetting of subfloors.
Class 2 – Fast evaporation rate. Materials soaked through but no wicked moisture or contaminants in walls or structure. Sewage contamination possible.
Class 3 – Fastest evaporation. Porous materials saturated and structural components wet. Possible ponding water and sewage contamination. Highest health risks.
More severe water damage requires more intensive remediation steps to restore the property. Proper classification guides the restoration plan.
Initial Water Extraction and Drying
After a detailed inspection and classification, the water restoration crew uses specialized equipment to extract as much water as possible. This stops the spread of moisture and initiates the drying process.
Extraction tools – Truck-mounted extraction units use high-power vacuums to suck up standing water. Portable extractors remove absorbed water from materials.
Dewatering pumps – Pumps are installed to drain basement flooding via exterior discharge hoses. Excess groundwater and seepage is also pumped out.
Drying equipment – Following extraction, commercial dehumidifiers and air movers are installed throughout affected areas to facilitate evaporation. Air rotation patterns are designed to optimize drying.
Structural drying – Wet framing cavities are injected with pressurized air to dry from the inside out. Thermal imaging tracks moisture. Holes drilled into walls allow air circulation.
Prompt water removal limits material saturation and structural penetration, while active drying minimizes opportunities for bacterial and mold growth.
Mold Inspection and Remediation
If initial drying does not commence within 24-48 hours, moisture conditions usually result in some degree of mold colonization. A mold inspector visually checks for microbial growth and uses sample testing to identify the mold species present.
Active mold growth requires specialized remediation to remove and prevent regrowth:
Containment – Work areas are isolated using plastic sheeting to prevent contamination spread. Negative air pressure contains spores.
Removal – Moldy materials like drywall are discarded. Mold on hard surfaces is scrubbed with detergent and fungicidal wash. HEPA vacuuming removes spores.
Fungicide application – EPA-registered mold-killing products are applied to treated areas to resist recurrence.
Verification – Post-remediation testing confirms spore levels are within normal limits. Added fungicide provides ongoing prevention.
Mold can pose major health risks, so complete eradication and prevention of future outbreaks is critical. Professional mold remediation protects inhabitants from exposure.
Sewage Cleanup and Sanitization
When sewer lines back up due to blockages or excessive rainwater inflow, raw sewage can flood buildings with disease-causing bacteria and parasites. Professional sanitization and decontamination protects health.
Removal – Sewage solids are vacuumed up and safely disposed of. Absorptive materials saturated with sewage are discarded.
Cleaning – All contaminated surfaces are thoroughly washed and disinfected using medical-grade cleansing solutions to kill bacteria.
Deodorization – Sewage odors cling to surfaces and the air, so deodorizers and ozone machines treat all affected rooms.
Verification – Post-remediation bacterial testing ensures sewage contamination is reduced to safe levels for re-occupancy.
Raw sewage requires meticulous cleaning and disinfecting to make a home inhabitable again. The right methods eliminate health risks.
Water Damage Repairs and Restoration
After thorough drying, mold removal, and sewage decontamination, the repair phase aims to restore the structure and interior to pre-loss condition. This involves:
Structural repairs – Damaged framing, subfloors, drywall, and other building components are replaced. Foundation cracks are sealed.
Surface restoration – Tile, laminate, and vinyl flooring are removed and re-installed after concrete slab drying. Carpet and padding are replaced.
Fixture/appliance replacement – Damaged sinks, toilets, tubs, cabinets, and kitchen appliances are replaced and re-installed.
Interior finish renewal – Walls and ceilings are resurfaced. Paint, wallpaper, and trim are renewed for an intact finish.
Furnishing restoration – Salvageable furniture is cleaned and treated for mold/bacteria. Non-restorable pieces are replaced.
Comprehensive drying, sanitizing, and restoration makes water-damaged properties clean, livable, and restored to their pre-loss aesthetic.
Preventing Future Water Damage
While water damage cannot always be prevented, homeowners and businesses can take proactive measures to reduce risks:
- Inspect plumbing and appliances for leaks and age-related damage. Replace outdated systems.
- Install leak detection systems that sound an alarm upon unexpected water contact.
- Improve perimeter grading to promote drainage away from the structure’s foundation.
- Clean gutters and downspouts regularly and drain runoff well away from the building.
- Waterproof basements and vulnerable entry points like doors and windows.
- Have backflow preventers installed to stop sewage backups.
- Address moisture issues like household humidity, condensation, and foundation cracks.
A small investment in prevention reduces the likelihood of costly water damage down the road. Catching issues early is also key.
Choosing a Water Damage Restoration Company in Lawrenceville
If you experience water damage in your home or business, it’s crucial to have an experienced and reputable water damage restoration Lawrenceville GA company handle the mitigation and repairs. Here are important factors to consider when selecting a water damage restoration contractor:
IICRC Certification – Choose a company whose technicians hold IICRC certifications in water damage restoration. This demonstrates extensive training and knowledge. IICRC-certified firms adhere to established industry standards.
Reputation and Reviews – Look for a well-reviewed company with a solid reputation in Lawrenceville. Check reviews on Google, Facebook, and with organizations like the Better Business Bureau. Seek companies that resolve issues satisfactorily.
Response Time – The faster water extraction and drying commences, the better. Choose a contractor with rapid response times, available 24/7. This limits damage and health risks.
Experience – Select a company with years or decades of specific experience dealing with water disasters in Lawrenceville homes and businesses. They will best understand local challenges.
Local References – Contractors should be able to provide references from past Lawrenceville-area clients you can contact to ask about their quality of work and service.
Written Estimates – Beware vague verbal estimates. Get a detailed inspection report and written damage assessment with line-item cost estimates for the needed work.
Insurance Approvals – Work with a contractor who deals directly with insurance providers to get mitigation and repair costs approved and reimbursed.
Updated Equipment – Look for modern drying and extraction equipment. Note safety certifications on electrical gear. Older units often lack needed capabilities.
Taking the time to carefully select your water damage restoration contractor will ensure excellent emergency response, mitigation, repairs, and claims processing. Check credentials and reviews thoroughly.
Water damage can stem from countless causes, but if addressed quickly by a professional Lawrenceville restoration company, its detrimental effects can be minimized. Though an unfortunate situation, even severe water damage can be fully remediated through structural drying, mold removal, sewage decontamination, and comprehensive repairs.
With diligent prevention and response, water damage does not have to be a catastrophe for Lawrenceville property owners. Regular inspection, system upgrades, and rapid response when leaks or flooding occurs keeps damage manageable. Partnering with an experienced IICRC-certified contractor like Southeast Water Restoration ensures your restoration is in trusted hands.